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Performing vs. Rehearsing (band drama alert)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gdawg27, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. gdawg27


    Jan 12, 2006
    So last night at rehearsal we had a discussion about ways to increase our fan base. Our lead singer brought up the idea of trying to establish a residency at a bar. He said he'd like to try to get us Tuesday nights at a place from 8-10pm and that we could cut down rehearsals to twice a month (instead of every Monday from 8-11pm) and use those rehearsal to work on new material.

    I was against the idea of cutting down rehearsals because I don't feel that we're tight enough (even with some of the old songs we've been playing for years) and I'm not comfortable with the idea of playing out weekly with less rehearsal time. Our keyboard player says to me, "well would you prefer to rehearse twice a week" and I said yes, and he replied, "Fine. So we'd be a tight band with no audience".

    Am I crazy to think we shouldn't sacrifice rehearsal time? Our rehearsals aren't as productive as I'd like them to be and the glaring problems I see in our performances are:

    Inconsistent tempo
    Flubbed notes
    Missed/forgotten cues & stops

    (Oh yeah, the only time our drummer is in front of a drum set is at rehearsals and gigs which is another reason I don't want to cut down on rehearsals).

    Part of me feels that I'm expecting too much out of us and to just go with the flow.
  2. If you sink, you sink. There's a point where every band just needs to say "!@#$ it" and go for it. With your mindset, it's possible that you'll never think the band'll be ready. Bands rarely are, but that's why you just gotta trial and error sometimes. Expects some bad shows and some good ones.
  3. Spoiled Grape

    Spoiled Grape I <3 Darkstar

    May 29, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    Take the residency, go with the flow for a week or two. If it doesn't work out performance wise, increase practice.

    Are you playing originals or covers?
  4. gdawg27


    Jan 12, 2006
    Well we've been gigging, I just don't think we should sacrifice rehearsals for gigs. I see your point though.

    We play originals and a few covers.
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    If you are still messing up songs that you've been playing "for years" then it's doubtful that more practice is going to help you. Either you need to reevaluate HOW you practice, or you just need to get out and play.
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    The beautiful thing about originals vs covers is that if there are mistakes made on an original tune, you can always just say that that's the way the tune goes.

    Get out and play!
  7. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I think it will make you a better player. Also it will change the dynamic of your practices too because you'll have an audience in place. Just a suggestion - record your shows. That way you can go back for a listen if something was really cool OR if you royally screwed something up. Have fun with it and stop being such a nervous nelly ;)
  8. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Just go out and play. To me, performing live is one of the best ways to improve the band.

    There are some advantages to performing as opposed to rehearsing.

    - You get audience member feedback to see how well your stuff goes over

    - You get to work on your sound mix in a venue. You'll get to run the PA, and work together to get a good front of house and stage sound.

    - You get exposure, and come extra cash and drinks.

    - You'll learn how to cover your mistakes, and work off of the mistakes of your bandmates. This is a crucial skill.
  9. Personally I don't think most bands should have to rehearse more than once a week (I know I certainly wouldn't have time for it), so I don't think sacrificing one rehearsal for a weekly residency is a big deal. Maybe work on having one really good and productive rehearsal each week, rather than two mediocre ones.
  10. guidedbassman


    Nov 21, 2006
    malone ny
    Just get out there and play man . Jive1 has the right idea playing out is the best way to make a band tighter. You'll learn how to read eachother better and you'll find you'll be able to cover eachother's mistakes you're going to make every band will form time to time I don't care how good the band is. I me its a great feeling if one guy in the band makes a mistake and the other guys cover it up where no one knows but the band .

  11. gdawg27


    Jan 12, 2006
    Thanks for the replies. They help put things in perspective. I realize most people can't tell when a band messes up, unless there's some type of crashing sound :) ). I think I'm putting too much importance into rehearsal. If people like it, who cares how tight we are. The more we play out, the tighter we'll get.
  12. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Do both. Rehearse twice a week and do your Tues night gig.
  13. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    One gig = Three rehersals

    Record your gigs, even if its just with an el cheapo cassete reorder, and learn from your mistakes.
  14. Take the gig(s)! My band's rehearsal time is averaging once every three months MAX. We try out new material during gigs, usually first set. People have much more incentive to get their stuff together for a song if they are performing it in front of an audience. It's a great motivator.
  15. Ding! You've seen the light. Good luck.
  16. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Just from your post where I quoted you, it is very obvious what the problem is.

    Individuals are not practicing enough on their own time!!!

    You guys can rehearse and gig as a band all you want, but the inconsistent tempo, flubbed notes and missed/forgotten cues & stops will not go away until each band member has their own part down cold.

    Part of your frustration is stemming from this. Because everyone isn't prepared with their own parts (learned on their own time), band rehearsals aren't productive. Your band rehearsals will never be productive until you reserve band rehearsals for putting the individual parts together as a band. Band rehearsals are not for individuals to get their parts down...that's what practicing at home on their own time is for. It's no different than any other relationship. Every relationship is only as good as the individuals that make it up. The band can't function as a band (tight, cohesive musical effort) if the individuals haven't taken care of their own sh*t first.

    Having said that, once you all know your own parts (on your own time), nothing will make your band as tight as having an audience force you to commit to playing well. It's easier to feel loose and play sloppy on your own, but in front of an audience you will give your best effort. So playing in front of an audience can do wonders for you as a band.

    Get everyone to learn their own parts on their own time first (where you no longer even have to think where the stops, notes, and tempo is) and all your issues will go away.

    I've played with guys where the only time we got together was on gigs. You'd never know we never rehearsed as a band, but it was because we knew the songs individually.
  17. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    Sundogue is dead on right.
    It wont matter whether your rehearsal is in public or private, if no one is practicing on their own time, nothing's going to improve.
    Record your practices and listen to it as a band afterwards. It should soon become clear to everyone involved where work needs to be done.

    That said, we did the residency thing for about a year with barely any private practices and it was an extremely helpful experience in regards to becoming tight as a band, being comfortable and loose on stage, + we made a whole lot of connections that way.
  18. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    We haven't rehearsed since... well... maybe June? Maybe April? Who knows?

    Someone earlier said one gig equals three rehearsals. I'm in total agreement with that. We got tighter as a band when we did a short summer tour of 7 shows (in 5 days) than we had in over a year of playing together. We're hitting the studio next week after Christmas, so we'll probably rehearse at least once this week, but that's a rarity.

    We play all originals, so it's near impossible to try new material in a gig, but we still try to do it from time to time, especially with cover tunes. Most of the time if we're hitting tunes that we haven't played in a while (or cover tunes that we've never played), we'll fake through it in sound check just to make sure we're all on the same page and in the same key.

    There certainly is a place for rehearsal. But if your way of rehearsing isn't functional, try something else. And never turn down a regular gig, especially if the pay is good.
  19. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    :confused: You play all originals, but later you say you play covers?

    Either way, +1 on gigs being worth 3x to 5x more than a rehearsal
  20. TechZilla

    TechZilla Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    Owensboro, KY
    Yeah what he said.

    I've learned over the years that we (bass players) are not like other musicans. We are usually very serious about our craft and tend to want to rehearse and work hard to get better. Guitarists, Singers and Drummers, not so much.

    Guitar players seem to be very into their own thing and will learn stuff if they want to but not if they don't, Drummers are aliens from another planet and singers ususally just want to get with the hotest girl in the bar. If doing the gig is the only way get everyone together and play then do it. The pressure of having an audience will help bring you together as a band and accomplish all the things jive1 mentioned as well

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